Chanses R. “Chan” Bryant, chief deputy with the Albemarle County Sheriff’s Office, won the Democratic nomination for Albemarle sheriff Tuesday.

Bryant, a 20-year law enforcement veteran who has served 13 years with the county Sheriff’s Office, defeated Patrick Estes, the regional director for RMC Events, which provides security at University of Virginia events and other events around Charlottesville and the state.

Estes, who played football for UVa and the San Francisco 49ers in the National Football League, served in law enforcement in California, including a stint with the federal homeland security department, before coming to the Charlottesville area.

Bryant, the first woman to run for Albemarle sheriff, won 63.65 percent of the vote, with 4,527 votes, to Estes’ 36.35 percent, or 2,585 votes, according to the Virginia Board of Elections.

It was both candidates’ first run for public office.

“I’m doing extremely well,” Bryant said when the votes came in. “I’m very happy and excited. We worked hard. You never know in a primary who will show up to vote and you can’t take anything for granted.”

Bryant will face Louisa Police Chief Ronnie Roberts, who also served several decades with the Charlottesville Police Department, in the November election. Roberts is running as an independent.

Retired Albemarle police Lt. Mike Wagner, who had announced his candidacy as a Republican, took a position as chief of the Siler City, North Carolina, police department. His election committee is now listed as inactive.

The candidates will vie for the post held for 12 years by J.E. “Chip” Harding, a Republican and 30-year veteran of the Charlottesville Police Department.

Bryant’s contributions to the county Sheriff’s Office include leading search and rescue teams and writing grants for the department.

She joined the department in 2006 and in 2009 became the first woman in the office to hold the rank of sergeant. In 2015, she was promoted to chief deputy, another first for a woman in the department.

She also served as the first woman deputy in the Madison County Sheriff’s Office and the first woman supervisor on the Scottsville Police Department.

Bryant said she was enjoying the Tuesday victory.

“It feels great,” she said. “I’m going to enjoy it now, but I’ll be back in the office in the morning.”

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Bryan McKenzie is a reporter for The Daily Progress. Contact him at (434) 978-7271, bmckenzie@dailyprogress.com or @BK_McKenzie on Twitter.

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